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Intel Chips Away at the Digital Divide

Intel Corporation, with headquarters in Santa Clara, is committed to chipping away at the digital divide that, since the onset of COVID-19 and the shift to distance learning, impacts low-income students even more adversely.

Through its Creating Learning Connections Initiative with the nonprofit First Book, Intel has joined Computer Discount Warehouse and LEGO Education in providing digital resources to students at Title 1 schools, where 40 percent or more of the students are from low income households.

Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) is one of four in California selected to benefit. In October it will receive 150 Windows PCs and Wi-Fi hot spots for 11th and 12th grade students at New Valley High School, an alternative high school for students needing additional support to graduate.

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New Valley students in the new Video Production and Digital Art Pathway in the Career Technical Education program will receive the PCs. They are pre-loaded to school specifications with District software so that students can just turn them on and be ready to learn at home.

“We know that industries that require creativity and multimedia are rapidly evolving. They are one of the largest industries in the area …,” said SCUSD Superintendent Dr. Stella M. Kemp. “This new CTE pathway allows us to prepare students to enter into this industry in ways not previously an option in our district.

“We are grateful for the partnership with Intel to bring us these resources to prepare our students for success in their future and to enter into a competitive job marketplace.”

Brian Gonzalez, Intel Senior Director, Global Partnerships & Initiatives, Governments, Markets & Trade Group, understands firsthand the life-changing potential of a computer powered by personal motivation — and, in this case, Intel chips.

Gonzalez was the first among his family and friends to use a computer. Back in 1982 as a junior in college, working part-time at a retail store, he saved up and bought a Commodore 64 — basically a keyboard with processor — for $750.

“That first computer…showed me the value that the technology could have on my studies and eventually my professional life. Having the device was a starting point; having the desire to understand the potential impact was the key,” he said.

In all, Intel and CDW-G are providing $5 million in personal computers, software, configuration services and digital learning resources to 45 school districts (out of 128 applicants) in 17 states. The school districts, including Redwood City and Sunrise Middle Schools in San Jose, will also receive stipends of $4,000 to address home internet connectivity.

LEGO is providing an additional $2 million in education solutions to support STEAM learning. School districts not chosen will each receive $500 from Intel to purchase educational resources from First Book.

In a nationwide study by First Book, released in July, 43 percent of responding educators said that they don’t distribute distance learning resources to many of their students because the students have no digital devices or internet.

“I look at my first computer as the best investment I ever made. My future forever changed as new opportunities with my newfound skills opened many doors,” said Gonzalez.

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